from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas
PRADO, HIGGINSON, and COSTA, Circuit Judges.
C. PRADO, Circuit Judge:
December 2014, Appellant Ezmerelda Rivera was sexually
assaulted by Manuel Fierros, an officer at the Hale County
Jail. Rivera subsequently brought claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Fierros, Hale County Sheriff David Mull,
and Hale County Jail Administrator A.J. Bonner. Rivera
claimed that Mull and Bonner (collectively,
"Appellees") were deliberately indifferent in
hiring Fierros and that they inadequately trained and
supervised jail employees. The district court granted summary
judgment and dismissed Rivera's claims against Appellees.
was hired as a jailer at the Hale County Jail in October
2012. During the hiring process, Appellees became aware that
Fierros had been arrested on two occasions when he was
fifteen years old-once in Randall County and once in Potter
County-for indecency with a child by sexual contact. After
learning about these arrests, Bonner purportedly called the
Randall County district attorney's and probation offices
as well as the Potter County district attorney's office
to inquire about the incidents. Bonner claims that no records
of the arrests were found, the individuals he spoke with had
no knowledge of the charges, and "no convictions [were]
2014, a senior jailer at the Hale County Jail sexually abused
a female detainee. The jailer stood outside the
detainee's cell and directed her to perform sexual acts
on herself. This incident was caught on the jail's video
surveillance system and was reported to jail authorities by
another officer who observed the abuse. After an
investigation, the jailer admitted to the abuse and resigned.
In subsequent staff briefings, jail officials purportedly
reminded jail staff that sexual exploitation of detainees was
prohibited, but they did not implement any additional
training regarding sexual misconduct. Jail officials also
displayed a poster at the facility that showed a red
prohibition sign across the words "sex with inmates,
" followed by "it's a felony." No policies
or procedures were revised in response to the incident.
six months later, in the early morning hours of December 14,
2014, Rivera was arrested for public intoxication in
connection with her husband's arrest for driving while
intoxicated. Both Rivera and her husband were transported to
the Hale County Jail, where Fierros was the officer in charge
that night. After Rivera arrived at the jail, a female
officer took her into a private room and instructed her to
change into orange scrubs with no undergarments underneath.
Fierros then took over the booking process. Fierros escorted
Rivera into the jail's "multipurpose room, "
which was used by the jail for bookings and arraignments, as
well as for inmates to meet with attorneys and chaplains. The
room was not monitored by video surveillance. Fierros
instructed two female jailers to exit the room, leaving him
alone with Rivera. Fierros then groped Rivera's breasts
and forced her to perform oral sex on him. Fierros was left
alone with Rivera for approximately fifty-five minutes,
during which time he left and reentered the room at various
times. Rivera was released from the jail the following day.
After Rivera filed a complaint with state law enforcement,
she was informed that Fierros had confessed to sexually
March 2015, Rivera filed this suit against Fierros and
Appellees under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition to claims
against Fierros, Rivera brought Fourteenth Amendment claims
against Appellees, asserting that they were deliberately
indifferent to the risks associated with hiring Fierros and
that they inadequately trained and supervised jail employees.
Appellees moved for summary judgment on the basis of
qualified immunity. The district court granted the motion for
summary judgment and dismissed Rivera's claims against
Appellees. This appeal followed.
review a summary judgment de novo, 'using the
same standard as that employed by the district court under
Rule 56.'" Newman v. Guedry, 703 F.3d 757,
761 (5th Cir. 2012) (quoting Kerstetter v. Pac. Sci.
Co., 210 F.3d 431, 435 (5th Cir. 2000)). Summary
judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P.
the doctrine of qualified immunity, public officials
"are shielded from liability for civil damages insofar
as their conduct does not violate clearly established
statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable
person would have known." Harlow v. Fitzgerald,
457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). The Supreme Court has
"mandated a two-step sequence for resolving government
officials' qualified immunity claims." Pearson
v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 232 (2009). A court must
decide (1) "whether the facts that a plaintiff has
alleged . . . make out a violation of a constitutional
right" and (2) "whether the right at issue was
'clearly established' at the time of defendant's
alleged misconduct." Id. Importantly, the
Supreme Court held in Pearson that courts
"should be permitted to exercise their sound discretion
in deciding which of the two prongs of the qualified immunity
analysis should be addressed first in light of the
circumstances in the particular case at hand."
Id. at 236. At the same time, the Supreme Court
recognized that deciding the two prongs in order "is
often beneficial." Id.
official pleads qualified immunity, "the burden then
shifts to the plaintiff, who must rebut the defense by
establishing a genuine fact issue as to whether the
official's allegedly wrongful conduct violated clearly
established law." Brown v. Callahan, 623 F.3d
249, 253 (5th Cir. 2010). However, "[b]ecause this case
arises in a summary judgment posture, we view the facts in
the light most favorable to [Rivera], the nonmoving
party." City & County of San Francisco v.
Sheehan, 135 S.Ct. 1765, 1769 (2015). That is,
"[t]he evidence of the nonmovant is to be believed, and
all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [her]
favor." Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1863
(2014) (per curiam) (alteration in original) (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255